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Time to Return your 2018 BPS Form Online

12 April 2018
Type Media Article

By Glen Corbett, Teagasc Adviser, Galway/Clare Region

There is less than 6 weeks to go now until the closing date for submitting applications for the 2018 BPS, the deadline is Tuesday 15th May 2018. As well as BPS this form is partly an application for other schemes, namely the Greening, ANC, BDGP, GLAS, OFS (Organic Farming Scheme), Sheep Welfare Scheme, Forestry schemes and numerous other Department schemes. Therefore this form is a vital part of ensuring the Direct Payment income arrives to every farm household in the country.

The main issue of concern for the Department of Agriculture this year will lie with the 16,000 plus herd owners that haven’t previously submitted online annually (that’s 13% of total). This year as per EU regulations all applications have to be submitted online (using Department of Agriculture’s online system). This also goes for all Transfer of Entitlement applications; they must all be submitted online also.

Therefore if you usually submit the form manually by post, it is very important that you get set-up online (i.e. register for the Departments online services) or if you don’t want to do it this way or if you don’t have internet access, then you should contact a qualified Agricultural Consultant.

BPS Online: 

So, with no manual applications allowed this year, the online system opened earlier than ever, in early February. This was followed by every Herdowner receiving an envelope with satellite photos and BPS terms and conditions. This was followed in turn by a separate envelope with the ANC terms and conditions.

The BPS application form is basically the same as last year. However, it is recommended that all documentation received concerning your application is checked over before getting it submitted online.

  • Examine your previous BPS forms (particularly 2017) carefully and compare with 2018 for potential changes that are required or made by DAFM
  • Familiarise yourself with the Terms and Conditions
  • Check over land parcel details and maps
  • Are all the boundaries marked correctly on maps?
  • Have you excluded areas of scrub, ponds, rock outcrops, buildings etc.?  Are your forestry plots included? And are Forestry parcels given a claimed area where necessary (not 0.0ha).
  • Does area claimed for GLAS actions match the GLAS plan itself, for area based options such as Low Input Permanent Pasture, Wild Bird Cover etc?
  • Check the number of entitlements on the form against the total claimed area. Have you enough land to cover all entitlements?
  • Grassland farmers must tick the box online referring to Areas of Natural Constraint Scheme (ANC)
  • Keep a print-out of application and file away if not familiar with online system.

Changing Herd Number:

If there is any particular problem or changes involved e.g. change of ownership, transfer of entitlements, sale/purchase/lease of land/entitlements, tillage parcels etc., seek the assistance of a Teagasc Adviser or Agricultural Consultant.

In a change of registration of Herd Number situation, the local District Veterinary Office (DVO) office has to be contacted first with ER1 application form and supporting documentation supplied. Do this in time so as to give the DVO a chance to process new Herdowner details. Then the Department’s online services section needs to be contacted in order to put your details online. Change of Herd Number will usually lead to a Transfer of Entitlements been required; they do not transfer automatically as is often assumed.

Transferring Entitlements:

For Transferring Entitlements, again both sides (Transferor and Transferee) must be set up online. The transferor initiates the process. The transferor signs a Transferor Confirmation Signature Form, the adviser witnesses this signature; this is uploaded and generates a Transfer Key Number. This Transfer Key is like a code, it’s used by Transferee (and/or Transferee advisor) to complete the Transfer.

For 2018 we are now calling Auctioneers involved in Transferring Entitlements ETFs, this stands for Entitlement Transfer Facilitators.

Where there is an Auctioneer (ETF) working on behalf of the Transferee, an ETF Authorisation form is signed (witnessed by adviser) and uploaded by the Transferor (and/or Transferor’s advisor). Then the auctioneer (ETF) takes over to complete the transfer.

Young Farmers:

The rules for the Young Farmer Scheme and National Reserve are the same as last year (Terms and Conditions are available on Department website). The deadline is also the 15th May and is applied for online. The young farmer needs to be aged 40 or under for whole of 2018 calendar year and have received the appropriate Educational Qualification. A gross off farm income limit of €40000 applies to the National Reserve. Applicants can use either the full 2016 or 2017 tax year, whichever is the most advantageous. Again, contact adviser if required or in doubt.


There is a lot of useful information on www.agriculture.gov.ie such as a list of Agencies that can handle BPS applications nationally and also, the dates and times of the list of BPS clinics that the Department are holding around the country. These are taking place in most counties, to handle queries on any BPS issues. They started on Tuesday 3rd of April and are running until the 3rd May. The closest one to the Tuam area for local farmers is in the Ard Ri hotel on Tuesday 24th April from 4.00pm until 7:30pm

In Conclusion: 

  • If you intend to get help completing your application form for the Basic Payment Scheme or any of the other CAP schemes, it is important that you make an appointment with your Teagasc Advisor or Agricultural Consultant immediately.
  • Beware of the deadline; it’s less than 6 weeks away.
  • Everything is online this year. Are you aware and prepared for this?
  • If you are aware of neighbours or relatives that need informing of online requirement this year, then please do so.